Today I led a debate on reform of the water industry and lowering consumer bills. This is such a big issue for constituents in Dover and Deal, and households across the country. There is a monopoly within the water industry and comsumers cannot just switch to a different company. They have to pay the charges that are set. i think the wtaer industry needs to be reformed, and bills made lower. I spoke at length on this topic, and the full script is here.
Part of keeping the wolf from the door is dealing with the utility bills that cost all our constituents so much money. That is why water reform matters. People do not really have a choice, because there is not much competition. It is a natural monopoly and people have to pay their water bills. There is an opportunity to foster more competition and ensure that the industry is more effectively regulated than it has been. For many years nothing was done to keep on top of the water industry, particularly before this Government were elected. Now we have an opportunity to make further changes and look more closely at what the issues are and what might be done.
Before the Government were elected, there was a settlement with Ofwat and the water industry that was to last for five years. The assumptions on which the settlement was made have since altered. Retail prices index inflation has risen more quickly than it was expected that construction inflation would rise, and interest rates have been lower than expected. The result has been excess profits for the industry. Ofwat figures highlight a return on regulated equity in excess of 20% in some cases. Investment was allowed to fall in real terms after 2007, while customer bills have risen by more than inflation. Dividend payments are often greater than the profits made, which some would say is particularly unattractive.
It has been an honour and privilege to serve as Member of Parliament for Dover & Deal. I hope to be re-elected to serve our community for another term.
Many of my appearances in the House of Commons are now on Youtube. Please click the link to watch the footage.
Please email me at email@example.com or ring my office on 01304 379669 if you need to get in touch.